| @Towson_FB - Delaware Preview
Courtesy: Mat Schlissel, TowsonTigers.com  
Release: 11/01/2012
What is a rival? The dictionary definition states it's a "person or thing competing with another for the same objective or for superiority in the same field of activity."
But is Towson Football Delaware's rival? The Blue Hens' main rival has been Villanova, who they've played 45 times, culminating in 21 wins, 23 losses and a tie. The Tigers and Blue Hens have played just 13 times and have only faced each other on a regular basis since Towson joined the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) (then the Atlantic-10) in 2004.
Maybe this rivalry needs a classic ending or triple overtime game to take it to the next level. Or some animosity between both sides. Okay, that last one may have taken place last year in Delaware's 35-30 win at Unitas Stadium during a rare October snowstorm. The bottomline is Delaware has won nine of the 13 games in this series including five straight games - one of which was a 48-0 rout at the "Tub" in 2010. Is this a classic rivalry game? Right now, no. This more of a border spat due to the proximity of the schools.
This Saturday, #19 Towson (4-4, 3-2 CAA) visits Tubby Raymond Field at Delaware Stadium to take on the #23 Blue Hens (5-3, 2-3 CAA) at 12 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network with audio on TowsonTigers.com.
Delaware is another very tough opponent for the Tigers on the road, but that's par for the course. The Tigers have also faced Kent State, LSU, James Madison and Villanova on the road.
The Blue Hens started the season off strong, opening with wins over West Chester (42-21), Delaware State (38-14), Bucknell (19-3) and William & Mary on the road (52-21). But then they dropped two straight, falling at New Hampshire, 34-14, and being upset by Maine at home, 26-3. After a bye, Delaware bounced back with a 47-24 win over Rhode Island on Oct. 20. Last week, the Blue Hens played well but just fell short at #6 Old Dominion, 31-26.
Delaware has a balanced attack, averaging 29.9 points per game, 157.4 yards per game on the ground and 186.2 yards per game in the air. Its defense is excellent, especially against the run. They allow just 115.2 yards per game on the ground. If there's a weakness, it's the pass defense, which allows 255.4 yards per game in the air.
Delaware makes up for it with an aggressive defense that has recorded 17 sacks, forcing nine fumbles and 16 turnovers (while committing 10).
Sophomore Trent Hurley (6-4, 220), a transfer from Bowling Green, runs the offense. He has completed 63 percent of his passes and compiled 1,202 yards passing, eight touchdowns and six interceptions. Hurley has good agility for his size, rushing for 109 yards with four touchdowns.
Junior Andrew Pierce (699 yards, four TDs) is the leading rusher and two-time All-CAA selection, who is considered "doubtful" for this game after suffering sprained knee ligaments in the first play of the second half against Old Dominion. That means more time for junior Julian Laing (6-0, 200), who has 267 yards rushing (5.2 ypc) and one TD. He's a speedy transfer from Lackawanna Junior College, the same school attended by Towson quarterback Grant Enders.
At receiver, senior Nihja White (6-2, 215), is tied for the lead with sophomore Michael Johnson (6-2, 205), with 30 catches for 331 yards. Johnson, who has 318 yards receiving, ignited the Blue Hens last season with an 80-yard kickoff return in the first half.
The offensive line has great size. It is led by junior center Brandon Heath (6-6, 310), who has moved from left tackle to take over for Gino Gradkowski, now a backup offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens.
On defense, Delaware has one of the biggest defensive lines in the CAA. Junior DT Zach Kerr (6-2, 330), a Maryland transfer, anchors the middle. He has 17 tackles, one sack, one interception and two fumble recoveries.
The star of the defense this season is redshirt freshman Jeff Williams (6-2, 210), who leads the team and the CAA with 6.5 sacks, is second on the team in tackles with 51 and adds
12 tackles for loss.
Senior OLB Paul Worrilow (6-0, 230) is the unit's leader. He's a preseason first-team All-CAA candidate and All-American candidate. Worrilow leads the Blue Hens with 72 tackles (second in the CAA), adding two sacks, 6.5 tackles for loss, one forced fumble and two pass breakups.
The defensive backfield is led by senior free safety Tim Breaker (6-0, 195) who leads the team with three interceptions and has
47 tackles.
Junior cornerback Travis Hawkins (5-10, 195) is one of the few players in the league who can dominate two positions. He has 32 tackles and three pass breakups, though most quarterbacks try to avoid throwing his direction. Last season, Hawkins returned a kick-off 86 yards for a touchdown at Towson.
On special teams, Hawkins has averaged 21.3 yards per return, while Johnson averages 23.4 ypr. On punt returns, Ricky Tunstall averages 4.8 ypr.
Junior punter Rauley Zaragoza averages 38.7 yards per punt, while junior Sean Baner has been remarkably consistent, making 14 of 15 field goals with a long of 48.

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